Home Money I was £5,000 short after 6 months waiting for my state pension, and the DWP only offered me £50 to say sorry.

I was £5,000 short after 6 months waiting for my state pension, and the DWP only offered me £50 to say sorry.

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Late payments: Merrick Ratcliffe spent six months fighting to claim his state pension
  • The 68-year-old man tried for months to claim his pension and filed two complaints.
  • Merrick Ratcliffe has received a special payment of £50 to recognize the delay
  • Is the state pension delayed? Email pensionquestions@thisismoney.co.uk

Late payments: Merrick Ratcliffe spent six months fighting to claim his state pension

A 68-year-old man who was short almost £5,000 after being forced to wait almost six months for his state pension was offered just £50 to say sorry.

Only after This is Money intervened did Merrick Ratcliffe receive an apology and almost £5,000 in arrears from the Department for Work and Pensions.

He also received a special payment of £50 to recognize the delay in starting his pension, a sum he dismissed as somewhere between “laughable” and “regrettable” after his experiences.

The Norfolk logistics and distribution manager postponed collecting his state pension when he reached retirement age more than two years ago.

Many people choose to delay taking their state pension in exchange for higher payments later in retirement.

Ratcliffe first applied for a state pension when he turned 66, but reversed his decision and repaid what he received then, which he explains was because he received “misinformation” from the DWP at the time.

But he started a new application last October and subsequently made numerous phone calls and two official complaints when his payments did not start.

He says DWP staff promised a manager would call him, but this did not happen, and he was wrongly told that a bill of rights had been submitted but not published, although he later learned it was not yet ready.

> Do you want to delay your state pension in exchange for higher payments? Steve Webb’s five golden rules revealed

Mr Ratcliffe contacted This is Money and told us last month: ‘The state pension application is not going ahead. Even after this period of time. I am informed that all required information is complete.’

He said he had repeatedly asked the DWP for help but had received no answers and did not know the right questions to ask staff to start his pension payments.

And he added: ‘I need the money now. I’m still working but I reduced my hours to 19 hours a week. That won’t pay my bills.

Following our intervention, Mr Ratcliffe received £4,978, but had no paperwork, and is waiting for his enhanced monthly payments to start this month.

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Are you trying to get state pension payments started?

If you experience delays in making an initial claim at age 66 or completing a deferral later, tell us your story at: pensionquestions@thisismoney.co.uk

Please put DWP CLAIMS in the subject line.

You can also contact your MP. If you are an expat, you can contact the MP of the last constituency in which he lived and still ask for help. Find your deputy here.

Former Pensions Minister Steve Webb, This is Money columnist and LCP partner, has advice here on how to ask MPs for help.

‘The downside is that only £50 will be given as compensation for the entire delay. Nothing more,’ he told us.

“HMRC has immediately started taxing the lump sum that exceeds the tax code at 20 per cent.”

A DWP spokesperson says: ‘We regret the delay in issuing Mr Ratcliffe’s state pension and have now finalized his claim and issued the arrears. When errors occur, we promise to fix them as soon as possible.’

Two other readers recently contacted us about long delays after they tried to end state pension deferrals last October, but both managed to resolve it themselves with the DWP after five months of waiting.

If you are having difficulty starting your state pension payments, please see the box to the right for how to contact us.

Between the fall of 2021 and the end of 2022, we covered many cases of readers who had difficulties or even were forced to go through hardships due to such delays: expats, people trying to end deferrals, and those trying to buy refills experienced the longer waits.

The DWP finally appeared to resolve the delays in starting pension payments, as complaints about this in our inbox dried up.

But problems purchasing refills worsened dramatically after a huge buying spree in spring 2023.

We have helped many readers whose payments to boost their state pensions have been missing for months and, in some cases, years.

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